Why Choose PowerPoint for Presenting ?

PowerPoint presentation is used for presenting a topic to an audience. It is typically a demonstration, introduction, lecture, or speech meant to inform, persuade, or build goodwill.  Below are key reasons for using PowerPoint presentations:

  • To hold interest
  • To focus attention
  • To guide discussions/overviews
  • To tell a story
  • To support the message being delivered
  • To create a poster for a conference

Tip #1: Have only the minimum required text on each slide.

I still see lots of presentations with a large number of words on each slide. I was recently sent a presentation with 2,200 words on 22 slides – an average of over 100 words per page.

The average adult has a maximum reading speed of between 200 and 300 words per minute (although speed readers can go much faster).

While the audience is reading your slides they are not listening to you – the speaker. A good rule of thumb is less than 40 words per slide. This would allow the average reader to take in the text in around 12 seconds and then concentrate their attention back to the speaker.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so it makes good sense to use pictures, not words.

Tip #2: Be consistent and sparing in your use of transitions and animations.

When text appears, we don’t want the audience to be watching the animation. Use the  “Appear effect” not “FANCY EFFECTS”

Tip #3: Be consistent in your choice of colors, fonts, images etc.,

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”. By saying that your slides need to need to be consistent, I do not mean limiting creativity. Instead, it is about reducing the unnecessary noise in your PowerPoint slides. The inconsistency that I recommend eliminating from your business presentations is the unintentional oversights in your PowerPoint design, not deliberate ones that are designed to emphasize a key point or concept. I have identified five areas of presentation design that can benefit from greater consistency.

  1. Colors: You don’t want to use every color in the rainbow in your slides. Your presentation will look more professional if you limit yourself to only using a subset of colorsconsistently throughout your slides. If your PowerPoint template is well-designed, you can leverage its built-in theme colors.
  2. Fonts: There are more than 300 fonts in Microsoft Office 2016, but your presentation slides shouldn’t include more than three of them in one slide deck. If too many fonts are used in one PowerPoint presentation, they can become a distraction and dilute the effectiveness of your message. If you’re using multiple fonts, try to use them the same way throughout your slides (e.g., body text, text boxes, slide titles, etc.).
  3. Images: Some business presentations can end up looking like misguided elementary school collages. When you’re looking to use several images throughout your business presentation, you can improve its professional look and feel by choosing pictures and clip art that are similar in style. You may also want to consider repeating a particular graphic throughout a presentation rather than using multiple images to represent the same point or concept.
  4. Formatting: Consistent formatting can be a real problem when you’re incorporating slides from someone else at your company. A business presentation can look disjointed and less professional when a presenter doesn’t take the necessary time to clean up the formatting. In order to improve the professional polish of your presentation design, you need to invest some time in making sure that the formatting of fonts, images, bullet points, animationsbackgrounds,etc. is consistent.
  5. Content: As you build out your content, you may want to consider using a consistent approach or structure. For example, if you’re examining several problems at your company, you may want to follow a uniform approach as you present your findings (e.g., problem description, analysis, recommendations). In terms of content consistency, I am not advocating that all slide content look the same. As an example, what I am encouraging is using bullet points in a consistent manner on the slides where that approach is used.

By diligently focusing on the consistency of your PowerPoint slides in these key areas, you can vastly improve the professional image and polish of your business presentations. Rather than distracting audiences with unwanted noise, being mindful of the consistency principle will enable you to create presentations that communicate more clearly and effectively.

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